Saturday, May 15, 2021

BDP stronghold turns against government

The Central District Council (CDC) which is a ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) stronghold is threatening a “no pay no work strike” unless they are paid accommodation allowances.

The imprest allowance budget is estimated at over P100 million annually for councilors countrywide. The matter surfaced for the first time during the March session earlier this year.

CDC Councillors pointed out this week that Members of parliament decided to increase their salaries substantially earlier this year while councillors are forced to sleep in their cars during council sessions because government cannot afford to pay for their hotel accommodation.

“It is simple, we say no pay no work, this is a collective decision we took as Central District Councillors. This is a matter affecting all councillors across the political divide and we stand together demanding imprest going forward or we will not take part in any council proceedings. We have made things simple for government; we do not need back pays we are saying pay us now and going forward,” one of the councillors told this publication.

CDC councillors walked out of the council proceedings last Thursday demanding that the matter be included in the agenda of council as a matter of urgency.

“The council leadership is arguing that the matter was never part of the agenda of this session of council, we say let’s include the matter in the agenda. We have realised that the leadership is reluctant to address this issue so we are going to make sure that now they listen to us, we will drive this matter going forward.” Councillors told this publication.

CDC council proceedings were disrupted again on Friday after councillors walked out again after the Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Local Government Botlogile Tshireletso could not make it to the council chambers to address councillors on the issue.

After realising that the situation was getting out of hand the council leadership took a decision to write a recommendation to the Ministry suggesting that Councillors be paid at least P2, 500 monthly housing allowances or be paid a local pedium of P860.00 a day during council sittings.

If approved, government would have to raise P 5 million for the annual housing allowances of CDC councillors alone. The annual budged for all councillors in Botswana is expected to exceed P100 million.

However, Tshireletso told this publication that she was the one who requested to address the CDC on a different issue not on the councilors’ imprest.

“I had to cancel the trip to Serowe because I had a family matter that I had to deal with. I just learnt about this imprest issue a few hours ago. One of the councillors there called me and asked why I didn’t make it and that I had disappointed them. I notified the council why I couldn’t make it,” she said.

Reached for a comment, Central District Council spokes person Oaitse Serite said there were no such issues at CDC. “The council is not aware of any grievances that were brought forward by councillors to the council leadership. We do not have any issue involving councillors’ allowances at CDC,” she said.

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